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Celebrate NZ's Creative Edge - Greens

05 August 2001

A conference to celebrate and enhance New Zealand's creative talents should be the next step in counter-acting our poor economic performance and pessimistic attitudes, says Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

"The launch tomorrow by Prime Minister Helen Clark of the World of Wearable Art in partnership with Tourism NZ recognises how much the creative sector contributes to the economy, employment and our national identity.

"A creative conference would bring together the high-achieving creative sector with business people, the education sector and Government, to develop a strategy to build on our current creative successes." Mr Donald said New Zealand should make the most of having world-class creative entrepreneurs such as Peter Jackson (film-maker); Tim Finn, Neil Finn and King Kapisi (musicians); Karen Walker and World (fashion designers), Suzie Moncrieff (Wearable Art organiser); Elizabeth Knox and Bill Manhire (writers) and Te Matarai I Orehu (kapa haka group) living and using their talents here.

"At the Knowledge Wave conference, there was an over-emphasis on technological solutions to our poor economic performance. We should also build on the outstanding creative successes already happening.

"There was a lot of talk about "punching above New Zealand's weight" in business, but no space for the artists and performers, who are already doing that in their own fields, to contribute to the discussion of New Zealand's future.

"The event would create a forum for discussion as to how Government and other sectors can assist the blossoming creative sector. New Zealand could really build on the synergy between our natural environment and 100 percent pure image, and a fresh, innovative creative sector."

Mr Donald said he hope the conference will be held in a year, with a theme like 'Celebrating Our Creative Edge'. As well as workshops and communication between different sectors, the conference could include exhibitions and performance - from busking to ballet.

Mr Donald said he would be taking the idea to the Minister of Arts Helen Clark, as well as the creative sector, local body and business leaders, and education institutions.

"Christchurch could be a front runner for the event. Mayor Gary Moore, and Polytech Director John Scott have already expressed enthusiasm for the idea, but I expect other centres would also be interested in bidding for the event.

"I'm exploring ways to provide seed finance to get this idea off the ground."

Ends


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